It’s hard sometimes, for me to speak of God’s Holy Spirit with words because what words could really do it any justice? I could go on and on about the feelings, the unexplainable and the mystery of the Holy Spirit at work in my life, but that too would require words. Instead, I have always relied on other people’s words to be my own. After speaking of the Holy Spirit for Pentecost Sunday, I was sent these words below that I felt deepened my words. And these words I would like to share with you. They came from a daily devotional that I receive from the Center of Action and Contemplation, which is lead by Richard Rohr. He borrows them from Grace Ji-Sun Kim. He’s what she had to say…in her own words:
God’s Spirit in the Bible is identified with the Hebrew word ruach, which can also mean breath. Korean-American theologian Grace Ji-Sun Kim explores the Spirit’s creative power in the Old Testament:
Breath evokes the sense of the intimacy and presence of the Spirit, who is with us always, even when we are unaware of it. Ruach is the breath of life and the power to live (Ecclesiastes 12:7). In the Old Testament, life-sustaining breath comes directly from the Divine—the creative power of Yahweh who bestowed life upon creation (Job 27:3). . . .
In Genesis 2:7, it is after God breathes into Adam that Adam comes alive. The word used in the text to refer to God’s breath is neshama, which is a synonym of ruach. Ruach is used to mean “breath of life,” as in Ezekiel 37, when the dry bones in the valley come to life as a result of God’s ruach.
Creation emerges out of the energies of God’s own Spirit, bridging the gulf between Creator and creature, actor and act, and master and work. Human creativity is intimately bound up in God’s own creativity. Ruach can give life to the lifeless and bring renewed life to those who have no hope. The Spirit of God is at work in creation.
The creativity of God begins in creation itself: the creative act of God that brings all things into existence and coexistence. “This breath is the essence of life” (Job 12:10), and without it is death. And all life is derived from one source, which is God. Thus, life and death are dependent upon the presence of the divine breath, as in Job 34:14: “If [God] should take back his spirit to himself, and gather to himself his breath.” God’s ruach sustains the being of the universe and energizes its processes. God is constantly present and breathes with the breath of the world.
Kim describes the Holy Spirit as the divine life-source of all creation:
The Spirit of God is recognized at the beginning of the Bible as it plays its role in the creation story. The Holy Spirit as breath is the force that gives life to all life in the cosmos (Genesis 1:2). As it does so, creation becomes understood as an act of God. The Holy Spirit moves the biosphere and gives life to everything in it. . . .
The Old Testament shows the Spirit—not just any spirit, but a life-giving Spirit of God—as the divine power that creates, sustains, and renews life (Genesis 1:2). This power of the Spirit is found in the prophetic books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Joel. For God to bring breath to dry bones shows the power of the Spirit to give life, always. Even in situations of death, sorrow, despair, and hopelessness, the Spirit can move us and create a space of joy to be alive. If it can bring back to life what was dead, what more can the Spirit do for us?!
Excerpt from Richard Rohr’s daily devotional on June 8, 2022.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the Holy Spirit: Hand-Raisers, Han, and the Holy Ghost (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2018), 17–18, 19, 20.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”